Back-Channeling with Socrative

What’s a Back Channel? Through a virtual room such as those available in Socrative, students may pose questions or comments regarding the material at hand in real-time, which the teacher may use to drive teaching and discussion. Classroom collaboration thus extends beyond segments of teaching followed by discussion, seamlessly melding the two, fostering participation and engagement.  Often done silently, it helps maintain class control while igniting and furthering collaboration.

Socrative short answer as a Back Channel!

Mr Vernon, a 6th grade Earth Science teacher wants to engage students during his overview lecture on plate tectonics. However, he has a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time. He turns to Socrative Short Answer to create a backchannel room so that students may submit questions throughout class.  It’s preset at anonymous but he likes to turn on the name feature for added accountability and the opportunity to directly support individual students. He also allows students to submit multiple times.

He asks students to “Surface questions or comments about this material”

In the last fifteen minutes of class, Mr. Vernon projects the questions and comments on the board and answers those that are the most common. Students learn what their peers are thinking and can compare it to their own understanding.  Mr. Vernon appreciates how he can clear up any areas of misunderstanding before the class ends.  In addition, he often adjusts homework as a result. Lastly, he downloads the Socrative report and reflects after class on how he could improve upon his class for next time.

 

Uncovering and Connecting Passions: Thinking Routine

everything is possibleCapturing and uncovering the passion and intrinsic motivation of 21st century learners is difficult.  The tools students utilize in their free time are often not allowed in schools and the speed of change is whizzing by us. Furthermore, the divide between school activities and home life pursuits is often extreme.  More and more students are asking the question “why do I need to know this”.

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Making Thinking Visible – Headlines Routine

Big News
Project Zero, an educational research group at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, has been working to enhance student learning, thinking and creativity since the 1960s. Founded by the philosopher Nelson Goodman it’s impacted global education and been guided by such education luminaries as Howard Gardner and David Perkins.
Utilizing it’s core concepts and adding a dash of Socrative will bolster student reflection, critical thinking, and creativity while developing independent learners for the 21st century.
Let’s Dig In!

What are Visible Thinking Routines?

At the core of Visible Thinking are practices that help make thinking visible:Thinking Routines loosely guide learners’ thought processes and encourage active processing. They are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. (pzweb.harvard.edu)

Visible Thinking Routine 1 – HEADLINES 

This routine draws on the idea of newspaper-type headlines as a vehicle for summing up and capturing the essence of an event, idea, concept, topic, etc.

Activity Flow with Socrative
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Helping Students Explore Ideas and Make a Stance – Compass Points

Light BulbThinking Routines are a constant source of interest and excitement as I explore  Socrative use cases.  In this particular occasion I was seeking a routine to help students evaluate current events, political decisions and school policies.  How could we structure a way to help students explore the topic and then eventually formulate arguments for making decisions or choosing a pathway?

For example, the school may be considering the idea of banning food in class, a character in a book might be confronted with a difficult personal decision, or a politician might be suggesting a change to a town policy.

Use these four directions from Project Zero’s Compass Points:

E = Excited

What excites you about this idea or proposition? What’s the upside?

W = Worrisome

What do you find worrisome about this idea or proposition? What’s the downside?

N = Need to Know

What else do you need to know or find out about this idea or proposition? What additional information would help you to evaluate things?

S = Stance or Suggestion for Moving Forward

What is your current stance or opinion on the idea or proposition? How might you move forward in your evaluation of this idea or proposition?

How to use with Socrative?

Socrative Short Answer – Ask one of the questions and have students respond at the same time.  Project all the responses and lead a discussion.  It’s your choice if you’d like to have it be anonymous or show their names.

Exit Ticket – End the class by asking students to work their way through all four points as they head out the door.  Review them after class to see how the students’ thinking has progressed.

Extension – Put the activity report on your class blog or website for all to see and offer feedback.  Once again, it’s your choice if it’s anonymous or not.

If you’d like to use this routine, import the below SOC # and it’s yours!

SOC-7262053


Learn more at www.visiblethinkingpz.org

Jigsaw your way to Collaboration with Socrative

Collaborative learning has many benefits:

  • Develops higher level thinking skills
  • Builds self-esteem in students
  • Improves oral communication skills
  • Enhances student satisfaction with the learning experience

Puzzle PiecesYet fear of losing classroom control and creating gaps in content coverage can often cause teachers to back off and resort to a didactic teacher led approach.
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1 – 2 – 3 – Word Cloud!

Word Clouds (wordle to most) can be a dynamic tool for visualizing text and for presenting a group’s thinking. They are AMAZING! 

wordle 21st century

While planning for the Future of Learning conference at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, I wanted to capture and share our participants’ views on “What are the key features of 21st Century Learning”. At first, word clouds didn’t cross my mind because in past experiences I had entered a historical speech, lecture notes or asynchronously generated google docs.  All these use cases would be ineffective for our needs.  But then it dawned on me, Socrative could aggregate our real-time responses.  Of course!

Here’s the system.

1. Identify a question which will generate responses for your particular needs.*

  • What are the key features of 21st century learning? (reflected in the above word cloud)
  • Which vocabulary words are giving you difficulty?
  • List 5 key words from the chapter you just read.
  • What 3 adjectives best describe this sculpture?
  • What are synonyms and antonyms of _______?

* have students answer in all lower case so there is consistency in the word cloud.

 

2. Initiate a Short Answer or Quiz.

  • A Short Answer question’s responses will populate your teacher screen.  
  • A Quiz may include many questions and the results will be available to view as a googledoc or an emailed Excel file.

 

3. Highlight all the answers and copy them.

  • Short Answer – highlight and copy the responses on the teacher screen.
  • Quiz – highlight and copy the column of the question you want to visualize.

 

4. Paste into a Word Cloud maker

  • Wordle  – The most well-known word cloud tool.  It’s easy to use and quickly adaptable to help you find the colors, fonts, sizes and arrangements to suit your taste.
  • Tagxedo – Tagxedo allows users to create clouds in various forms, such as Abe Lincoln’s head, triangles or the outlines of countries.
  • Wordsift – You can further highlight words by subjects such as social studies or science.  Developed as an ELL resource at Stanford.
  • ABCya! – Word clouds for kids!
  • Word Collage – an App for iPads

 

Share your ideas!

The 5Ws and H – Questions, Questions, Questions!

reporters

The infamous 5Ws and H have been an integral part of journalism, storytelling and an uncountable number of TV police dramas, (Law and Order being the best, of course).  

5Ws and H Table

Additionally, for years this structure has been helping students ask targeted questions as they dig deeper into factual information and uncover truths.  In the 21st century, this routine is more versatile and as important as ever. It’s at the core of problem solving in the office place, evaluating what’s what in cyberspace, and identifying causal relationships.

Whether an ELL teacher or a physics teacher, you’ll encounter numerous opportunities to cultivate your students’ abilities to mine for information, make sense of it, and then arrive at conclusions. So let’s support the development and acquisition of these cross-disciplinary skills through whole class discussion, practice and guided examples.

Build Understanding as a Class – Implementation Ideas

 

Use the Short Answer and Multiple Choice features to ask questions of the whole class and deconstruct each W and H together. Have students respond in complete sentences and then collaboratively decide which answers are the best and discuss why. 

Use the Short Answer Voting Feature to narrow the class’ choices and focus on reasoning. Ask students why they like their choices and identify the key criteria in a student defined rubric.  Continue the discussion into the other components of the routine.  

Create 2 to 3 question Quizzes for post reading assignments, experiments and research. Ask for different components of the routine each time as you put the 6 pieces together over time.  These can be either multiple choice, short response or a combination of the two. Have students work in small groups or pairs and discuss their choices.

Design a 5Ws and H quiz for easy and frequent use to check understanding and create discussion.

Reminder: How to make your own “Quiz” activity

Log into your account -> Click “Manage Quizzes” -> “Create a Quiz

Design the Quiz and select Save & Exit

The Quiz will now be available in your My Quizzes menu.

Share the SOC # with your community

 

3 Engaging Uses of Open Response Questioning

Short Answer

One of our favorite features is Quick Question – Short Answer.  With a few quick clicks, you can use short answer to ask a question, then gather, visualize and discuss a whole class’s open responses.  You could even have students VOTE on the responses!  

1. Gather Student Questions:

As students settle into their seats have them enter a question based on last night’s homework or your current unit.  You can quickly clear up any misunderstanding before moving on to that day’s agenda. By enabling each student to respond, you can see common questions that are applicable to a larger number of students. Use the VOTE feature to have them prioritize what you answer!

Remember – student questions project anonymously, but you can toggle on “show name” and also have a report afterward which tells who said what.  Overall, students are less fearful of asking a question anonymously.

This is also a great tool to use at the end of class. As students start to pack up, open a short answer to gather any points of confusion to incorporate into your plan for the next day, or ask a question based on that day’s content to see what your students have learned!

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2. Vocabulary

In every class, there are key vocabulary items that students need to master. Pose a vocabulary word in short answer and ask students to use that word in a sentence, or respond with the definition. Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.17.36 AM

3. Foreign Language

There are multiple ways to allow students to show their understanding in a second language classroom.

– Present students with a sentence and ask them to translate

– Present students with a sentence and ask them to write a follow-on sentence

– Have students use a key vocabulary term in a sentence (verbs, nouns, adjectives etc.)

 

How Quick Question – Short Answer Works:

1. From your Teacher Dashboard select “Quick Question”

2. Select the “Short Answer” on the right

3. Type a Question into the text field (optional)

4. Choose whether you would like a SINGLE or UNLIMITED responses from your Students

5. Choose whether you would like students to be ANONYMOUS or REQUIRE their name. (Either way, all responses initially display on your screen anonymously)  

6. Select start!

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.19.13 PM

In Defense of Multiple Choice

CapShield05

The value of multiple-choice in education has been a topic of debate since its invention in the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, the US army constructed this type of assessment as a means for determining intelligence for recruitment (Ramirez, 2013).  Provided this social validity, the test quickly spread to education and industry sectors, such as the SAT (Ramirez, 2013).  At this time, education mocked the industrial “factory model”, based on standardization and strict learning schedules.

In recent years, however, there has been a shift in the education model, contingent upon active and personal participation in our globalized society. Due to the invention of the world-wide-web and new technologies that utilize it, individuals have gained autonomy, instant communication, access to a plethora of information at their fingertips, and the ability to track all types of information and data. As a result, there has been a drive towards implementing constructivist practices within the classroom, where students gain greater agency to create their own knowledge when learning and working with peers.

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How to Create Valuable Multiple Choice Questions

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Multiple-choice questions can be a useful teaching and assessment tool, whether aiding class discussions or testing content on an exam. Teachers have been using this method of assessment for decades, whether verbally, on paper, or more recently through technology such as the real-time assessment system, Socrative.

However, writing multiple-choice questions that test the anticipated content with a certain level of difficulty and understanding for the student is often more challenging than it may seem. It is important to understand the types of questions that exist, reliable rules for writing them, and how to use them to understand learning behavior.

Types of Questions

1. Recall information: Test understanding of factual knowledge, such as definition or association.

Example: What is a verb?

2. Understand concepts: Draw upon facts in context of what is being learned.

Example: Which of the words in the following sentence is a verb: Susan walked to the grocery store.

3. Apply knowledge: Give students a scenario, often linked to a real-world outcome.

Example: Sam is writing about his ski vacation with his family. This vacation happened one month ago. Which is a correct form of the word “to ski” for his paragraph?

4. Analyze Information: Students reflect on patterns and relationships within the content.

Example: Consider the verbs in the following sentence: Mike ran to the store. 

In what form would you use the word “to call” in order to represent that Mike made a call before he went to the store.

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